Inspired by the idea that getting fitness results should be fun and surprising, Imagine That! Dance and Fitness' teachers entertain and enrich clients with subjects such as Zumba, cheerleading, and tae kwon do. In that vein, instructor Monica Saldana claims Zumba classes—in which students swivel hips and incinerate calories to Latin-inspired tunes—always feel like a party, mostly due to the messy breakups staged by teenage actors. Hip-hop and break-dance classes sample other styles of music as teachers train bodies to perform their powerful, rhythm-fueled dance steps. Youth-centric Zumbatomics classes motivate kids to shed sweat like their parents, while tae-kwon-do sessions challenge them to learn discipline, focus, and self-defense.
When an attack comes, the ensuing hand-to-hand combat rarely remains on the vertical plane. That’s why the instructors at Phoenix BJJ & MMA Academy tout Brazilian jujitsu (BJJ) as the most effective form of defense—it emphasizes grappling on the ground. They guide students through flips, throws, chokes, and locks that return the advantage to the attacked using precise leverage and body position. In addition to BJJ, instructors also teach judo (another grappling art), wrestling, kickboxing, and classes specifically for kids and women.
Named after the Sanskrit word for “community,” Sangha Yoga stays true to its title by bringing together yogis of all levels in peaceful classes six days a week. The studio’s curriculum incorporates both extremely gentle sessions and such intense rounds as the "rock my body, soothe my soul" class, which keeps sweat glands' hands full with challenging poses that strengthen the frame without overworking internal systems.
Like a trip to the all-you-can-dance buffet, Jazzercise incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, and air-busting kickboxing. In 60 minutes of class, participants of all ages and levels will benefit from improving their cardio, strength, and flexibility while burning off up to 500 calories and improving their chances of impressing Kevin Bacon at a celebrity dance-a-thon. Dancing with the Stars two-time champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise’s improvisational workouts, but clients won’t need her encyclopedic knowledge of flashy footwork and spirit-fingered dance moves to get the most out of each class. Those prone to first-class jitters can review the basic moves before their shimmy session.
Although Bikram Yoga Avondale’s classes always cycle through the same 26-pose sequence, the practice is anything but boring. The repetition gives practitioners a pretty clear point of reference when it comes to tracking their progress over time, and the addition of sweltering heat challenges even the most adroit yogi. The heat of the Bikram studio boosts the heart rate, so the sessions function as cardio workouts, and the poses stretch and strengthen every major muscle group. Some even maintain that it boosts the immune system and improves focus. Since its inception, its grab-bag of benefits has attracted the admiration of high-profile adherents such as Shirley MacLaine and President Nixon.
The instructors at Bikram Yoga Avondale infuse each lesson with their personality, adding a touch of variety. The new facility, which also offers massage services, features a state of the art heating and ventilation system, new waterproof and anti-microbial carpets, along with larger changing rooms and additional shower facilities. To keep boat-loads of fresh oxygen coursing through circulatory systems, the staff deep cleans the facility with ardor, and deploys a state-of-the-art ozone air purifier.
Daisy Anten loves fitness so much that she came out of retirement to teach it once again—even after a long career owning two fitness centers. With her business partner, licensed professional counselor Donna Peck, she opened Women's Fitness with Daisy: a women-only gym where Daisy could teach Pilates, yoga, circuit training, and her newfound passion, Zumba.
The center creates a supportive environment for women not only through group classes, but also through nutritional counseling and massage therapy. A mother-daughter membership program fosters fitness across multiple generations better than a pull-up bar bolted to a family tree.